Browsing Tag


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Right Folks in Your Corner–Your Kitchen Corner.

I had a happy and busy kitchen going on the night before Thanksgiving. My dear friend, Diane, was there and she really wanted to help me. So I gave her all the ingredients for the chai mix. “I make a huge batch for holiday company and Christmas giving,” I told her. “So just follow the recipe—times 8. Here’s a measuring cup.” 

Well, she barely got the first two ingredients mixed together before that 5 gallon container I gave her was overflowing. What in the world was happening over there on the chai counter while I was over on the potato salad counter? ”This seems like a lot of chai that’s coming together. I’m going to have to get you a bigger container.” 

“Well,” Diane answered…”I just put eight of these in and it just makes a lot.” 

“Oh wait,” I said. “You do know the measuring cup I gave you is a two-cupper?”

“Oh no!” she exclaimed. “I have put 16 cups of powdered milk in this thing (instead of just eight) and now I have mixed 16 cups of French vanilla creamer in there!”

“O dear!” I said “Now you’re going to have to do the whole recipe—times 16! Do I even have that much cinnamon and ginger and cardamom? That will be my life savings in cardamom. And the sugar! Oh, that will be 40 cups of sugar! Do I even have 40 cups of sugar?! It’s 10 p.m. Is the corner market open?”   I got out my grandmother’s old porcelain washtub and we were making enough chai for serving at the king’s coronation. We stirred until our arms felt like we’d been lifting in an Olympic trial. And where do you even store that much chai? 

We really didn’t have a pan big enough to keep adding the ratios of ingredients we needed, so we just added instant milk and tea, till it kind of “looked right.” Glenn was our guinea pig and he said “ I believe this is better than usual!”

Then it was the evening of our “Christmas at the Colleys”. That’s the night the whole church is invited over for supper, along with a whole bunch of other people. We have an amazing time with our favorite family…God’s family. Another best friend, Jennifer, really was so very kind to persist in offering to come help me the day of the party. She helped me put up wreaths and tie bows and assemble cocoa servers and all kinds of things. But the main thing I saved out for Jennifer to do was to make three large cherry dump cakes. Here’s the complex ingredient list. I was doing it times three.

  • 1 (30-ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick salted butter.

So you pour in the cake mix. Then you dump the cherry pie filling on top of that. Then you cut up the stick of butter on top and you put it in the oven for about 45 minutes. 

I just said “Here you go,” to Jennifer and handed her all the ingredients. She said “I’m just going to do one at the time.” 

“No, No,” I insisted. “I never do that. Just do them all at once.”  I got her three 9X13 Pyrex dishes and let her go. I should have taken pause when she wanted a huge mixing bowl. But I missed that cue. I went upstairs to clean up a mess around Eliza’s dollhouse. We had about an hour-and-a-half before the house would be teeming with people. All was well. 

…Until I came back down and Jennifer said “Come see if this is the right consistency.” Ummm… how do you miss the consistency of a dump cake?

Jennifer was holding a heavy, mammoth bowl of dark pink pudding-like yum,-yum.  Its contents were three cake mixes, three giant cans of cherry pie filling and three sticks of butter. It looked like we were having a cherry jubilee pudding festival. It really looked like we were going for the Guinness Book of World Records—largest pudding. But it was so pretty. 

“What on earth did you do?” 

“You said a dump cake, so I dumped.” 

It’s true. I did not say “layer.” I said “dump.” 

Now Jennifer and I have been through a few adventures together and I could not stop laughing. But I had to stop laughing… and think. A hundred-plus people are coming over for supper in an hour. I have a pecan pie, a few little cookies, and a strawberry cake. “But what is that among so many (Jn. 6:8)?”

“I’ll go to the store really quickly and we will start all over….I know, I’ll get one of my friends who lives over by the bakery to stop and pick up some cakes. Or maybe Glenn, who is outside stringing lights could just hurry up and go shopping with my list.” 

Jennifer, ever the resourceful one, said, “Let’s add some milk and just put one of these in the oven and see what happens and then panic later.” 

Forty-five minutes later, and just in time for the wonderful shoulder-to-shoulder fellowship, this Christmas  dish came out of the oven.  And if Lucy and Ethel didn’t come up with the prettiest cherry soufflé ( I mean, eventually, three of them) that you have ever seen! 

People said “What is this stuff? It’s not cake. It’s not really pie. It’s not pudding. But it’s good.”  Scotty said “This tastes kinda’ like dump cake, but it’s not that….The texture is off.” It was even pretty. When I turned the leftover one out of the fluted-edged pan, it retained the shape. It’s in the freezer and it might be a layer of a pretty holiday mousse dessert in a few days. 

And then there was the broccoli rice casserole that Han made for me to feed the kids while she was working last week. “Mom, it’s been a little hectic here and I wasn’t paying attention and I put potato flakes on top of this instead of potato chips. So I really don’t know what you’ll want to do with this. But here’s some ham. I didn’t mess that up.”  

Well, adding milk seems to solve pretty much all the ingredient assembly cooking “fails” lately. I’ll do that. So I poured a little milk over the top of that casserole and it became a wonderful broccoli-cheddar shepherd’s pie. Those kids and I ate every bite. 

But what in the world is happening on every kitchen counter behind which I step? And what is happening to my every kitchen helper? And what is the magic of milk? And how can I keep laughing this hard? 

Well, I’ve pretty much decided that there’s always a fix to any cooking mess, if I have the right folks in my corner and if I have milk. Here are a few pithy truths from the kitchen faux pas.

  • Sometimes, some pretty good things can come about as a result of mistakes.
  • Often, the things that make you panic most feverishly, also make you laugh the hardest.
  • If your husband is willing to be your guinea pig, you are most blessed.
  • A recipe is not just about having all the right stuff. It’s also about following directions. Life’s  recipe for success is like that, too.
  • Milk is sometimes the answer. The sincere milk of the word is always the answer. We should desire it (1 Peter 2:2).
  • Every messed-up dish in my world is heartier and better than any dish I’ve ever tasted in any 3rd world country. 

Having pondered these dishes that didn’t turn out like I’d planned, I am thankful for my kitchen and even for my kitchen fails. I’m thankful for great and voluntary kitchen hands—sisters who  pull me on through the mistakes and flops, large and small. I thank Him for my kitchen because it’s a great place to grow closer to each other and from which to serve with sisters.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

PTP Diggers…Just for fun: Tap me on the shoulder and say “I escaped!”

I’m sitting here in the dark in a hotel room in Sevierville, Tennessee on the Lord’s day, with two sleeping grandchildren on the bed beside me. During the past four days, I’ve spoken to ladies groups seven times, heard my husband speak once about the responsibility of elders from Revelation 2 and 3, heard my son do a Q and A session and then another on Joy, and wished that I could go and hear my daughter talk about how our God is not extraordinary. I worshipped the Lord this morning in a conference center where thousands of others were worshipping Him and heard a decidedly comforting sermon about how my Lord cares for me through the storms of life. I know it sounds like heaven and it really feels like I must be in the very vestibule of it; after all, I am walking these halls with hundreds who will share in that eternal abode. I’m putting my arms around the necks of brothers and sisters–bodies that will rise to meet Him in the air. I’m getting to eat and drink with family that’s untethered to this earth, already having its sights set on another feast above. I talked to ladies about how that caring for my earthly father, who left this life last December, has taught me that the heavenly Father can never be repaid. But my Father can be honored. I know he was honored when someone went home and cleaned out her closet after hearing a lesson on modesty. I know he was honored when another went and purchased alternate clothing onsite after hearing that lesson. I know He was glorified when one sister  I love said, “It has been a very hard and dry year. I came so thirsty and I have been filled.”  I know He is being magnified on this mountain at Polishing the Pulpit 2018. Sometimes I think, in a perfect world, Jesus could just come on back for us while we are at PTP.

But He might not come while I am on a mountaintop of service and fellowship. He might not come while I am communing with Him with hundreds of Christians. So I am praying I can take home with me the will to persevere, the courage to speak for Him, the true heart’s desire to influence these children beside me for Him with all my being, and the serene contentment to know that all of this is all I need.

I’m bursting with excitement over the new Digging Deep study being unveiled on Tuesday at 12:15 in Ballroom B. You can watch the unfolding of Digging Deep 2018-19 live-stream tomorrow here: You have been faithful to study Great Escapes and, if you are like me, you know that the Word never disappoints and you are praising Him this month for the Greatest Escape of the faithful from the torment that awaits those who reject Him. He left heaven so we can go. He came to a dirty, sinful and disease-ridden world so that I could leave it. He partook of earthly things, so that I could be a partaker in heavenly things (Her. 3:1) and share His glory. I know you are thinking about that during the final days of this 2017-18 dig. (All four Dig-A-Bits for August are in the “can” and coming your way.)

I’m excited about the trip to Israel! More details will follow about that trip. But it opens up to all members of the body tomorrow at 12:45 pm. Several of you have approached us this week and said “I am going!” This will be a life-changing trip for us and I can’t wait to board the plane for Tel-Aviv next May. Registration will be open until we reach our maximum number. We have currently registered around 35 people from the Digging Deep group alone.

I have a few more lessons to go at PTP and I am over-the-top excited about every one…just blessed beyond what I can ask or imagine.  I’m studying a lot this week. As I interact, though, with so many faithful women of God, I know that I’d learn so much that would help me to heaven if I was getting to talk less and listen more. I hope to hear several more of you. I’ve been blessed, already, to hear Tish Clarke, Sami Nicholas and Celine Sparks from the ladies line-up and several of the best men in our brotherhood. I am bringing my cup to hear Hiram Kemp tonight…and it is already overflowing. Some of the most valuable nuggets for living come in casual conversation in the courtyard, over the table at Cracker Barrel, or in the lobby of the hotel. We look forward to these times and they encourage us to pursue strengthening fellowship. One of our favorite times annually is the meal we schedule each year with the Kirby Cole family. They are a sweet segment of our family in Him.

If you are a Digger and you see me or another Digger in the hall today, tap me on the shoulder and say “I Escaped!” You can do this and keep walking to your lecture It will be a fun way to lead up to our session on Tuesday, for which I absolutely cannot wait!


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Christ over Color (Part 3)


As I continue to think about this subject, I must acknowledge that the America we live in today is different from that of a half-century ago. There are policemen in certain communities in our country who are increasingly anxious when pulling over a violating automobile when the driver is a black man. That is simply reality. Sometimes in these communities, due to violence occurring between African American citizens and police officers, our black brothers and sisters, though they’ve had nothing to do with the incitation of violence, are fearful when family members leave their homes.

We could spend time deliberating about which fears are founded and which are based on unsubstantiated claims. But regardless of the the basis for it, fear is always uncomfortable. Christians should always be compassionate toward brothers and sisters who fear. Some of them are fearful for safety, their own or that of a loved one. Some are fearful for the well -being of their children as members of minority groups. Some are, indeed, so fearful that they have begun to think about leaving the United States. There are Christian women who are daily praying for safety as their husbands traverse the everyday travel and tasks that comprise their work days.

I want to go and put my arms around them when I read about their fears, because they are my sisters and they are afraid. 

But I am sometimes fearful, too. There are some areas of my hometown to which I would not dare to venture at night. These are areas in which crime is rampant, murders are common and theft is a real threat. In this particular town, those areas are the predominantly black areas—the areas in which the population is, by and large, African American. I try to be evangelistic and honest, as well. Like my brown sister, though, I am fearful. I have no doubt that she would sympathize with my fear in the event I had to travel through that zone of trepidation, just as I do with hers, because we love one another with the love of the Lord. We should and do pray for one another.

Sometimes we struggle, though, with how racial tension should affect our congregations and the church in general. Next time, we will focus on the church and race relations. I’m praying that this series is useful, at least in a small way, in making sisters who read ever more determined to be a part of a movement to be united in Him, even as our culture seems to continue to be sharply divided. 


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Feedback from an “Orphan” Sister

Two women outdoors hugging and smilingPerhaps you read the recent post called “Orphans Among Us”. If not, you may read it here: This reader response made me want to be more like Christa (and more like Christ).  I hope it will encourage us all to value our family in the Lord more than even our physical families.


Hi, Cindy!

I hope all’s well with you. I just read your article “Orphans Among Us” and I really enjoyed it! I was raised half in the church. I was born into a Catholic family. My parents divorced and my mother remarried (unscripturally) to a man who attended (a very permissive and not wholly biblically sound) church of Christ. While that congregation had some issues that eventually led to my whole family walking away from the faith, I know God had me in the palm of His hand. When I got older and started looking, the local church of Christ is where I started (and fortunately that one was sound). While my family growing up is still lost, I’m thankful that the process resulted in my husband becoming a Christian and my children being raised in a Christian home. All the backstory was just to say this: I’ve had an amazing experience with other women stepping in to be my surrogate mothers in the faith. I’ve been blessed with several wonderful women who have been wonderful friends and tasked themselves with teaching me as their own. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I got really nervous when we moved to a new place because I was losing my physical family, but also my surrogate family in the faith.

Last year was especially hard for us. We were still relatively new in town. I’m a stay-at-home homeschooling mom. I lost two babies last year, and some wonderful women helped me through that. The doctors thought there was an ectopic pregnancy. I was desperate and scared. We’ve since been been “adopted” by an older couple at our congregation. They have my little boys calling them Gigi and Pawpaw. Once, I was at their house and one of their actual kids called. They’d come in from out of town and were telling them where they were. Lloyd and Christa, who had “adopted” us, told their children that they had company and would have to see them later. When I offered to leave so that they could be with their kids, they told me that my family was closer than theirs. As Christians, we’re closer to them than their blood family (who are lost). When I lost my second baby, Christa had been acting as my mother the whole time (my blood family wanted me to have an abortion because I have a history of difficult pregnancies). When we went to the ultrasound and the doctor couldn’t find the heartbeat, Christa was the first person I called. While my own mother wasn’t willing to look at the ultrasound photos (they were all I had, but our baby isn’t alive in them), Christa came over and cried with me over them. When I hemorrhaged at 5:30 in the morning (and my husband, after rushing me three blocks to the hospital, had to leave me there to get back to our kids–who we didn’t have time to wake up), I called Christa. She wasn’t angry that I woke her up (but said she would have been if I hadn’t). She sat with me all day, held my hand, and prayed with me. I know that it’s so very true that there are orphans among us. I just wanted to share my experience as one who was adopted.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: “Baby Down!”

14305233_937682760579_6131246353948726920_oWhen my Hannah was about four years old, her younger cousin, Abel, was born. Amidst all of her grandmothers’ ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the new baby, Hannah shouted across the room to her grandmother “Pumpie!” (That’s what she called her.) “I’m over here!” 

This week, I’ve had a few vivid recollections of that sort of sibling or cousin jealousy as I’ve held my brand new Colleyanna. Ezra, her big brother, looked at me and repeated a phrase over and over as I was walking around with Colleyanna in my arms today. He kept saying “Baby down.” 

I said “Do you  mean you want me to put the baby down?” 

“Uh-huh,” Ezra said. (Like mother, like son).

Sibling jealousy was a thing…a real thing in the Corinthian church of the first century; so much so that Paul used a good portion of the book of First Corinthians to address it. The climax of the discussion is in chapter 13, where he describes love. As I think about that chapter, I see that several of the characteristics or anti-characteristics of love were a bit lacking in Ezra’s behavior today. For instance, love envies not. I’m pretty sure envy was at the root of “Baby down”. I think maybe Ezra was being pretty focused on himself and behaving a bit unseemly. But Ezra is a little child. (And this kind of attention seeking toward a grandmother is not unpleasant to this Mammy, by any means!)

It’s interesting that I Corinthians 13 concludes by pointing out that children talk like children. They think and understand like children. But when they grow up, they put away childish things. There will come a day very soon, if things are right in Ezra’s home, when he will no longer be jealous of his sister, but rather protective and encouraging. Maturity compels us to protect and encourage each other in the body of Christ—to seek the well-being of one another (I Cor. 10:24). That’s what Christians do when they grow up.

Practically speaking, this means you rejoice when someone else excels in some area of service even if it’s an area in which you also work. You are glad when another receives honor for the good things in her life. You are willing to step aside and let another person have the chance to do something that perhaps you have “always” done. You forbear with someone who does something in a a manner less preferable to you, albeit scriptural. You absolutely refuse to berate a brother or sister to his or her  face or behind his or her back, but you will go to all lengths to save his or her soul. In short, you get out of the way for the cause of Christ. You serve rather than seeking service (i.e “How come no one visited me in the hospital?”). Your path in Him is one of conviction and consecration, rather than convenience. It is always self-instructive, rather than self-indulgent. You are never eager to say “Hey, look! I’m over here!” When a new Christian’s needs take precedence, you never say “Baby down,” because it is your purpose to put childish things away.

And when you use the phrase “Oh, grow up!” you’re talking to yourself and you are wanting to do it the I Corinthians 13 way!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

She Facebooked her Friends and said “Rejoice with Me!…


…for I have found the piece which was lost!”

Several sisters have asked about the lost dress. Facebook can be a huge umbrella of encouragement even in the mundane.  I know life’s not all about finding Cindy Colley’s heirloom dress, of all things, but I was truly humbled and amazed that so many of you cheered us on as we searched for and found a little dress that I very much wanted to put on BabyG2 next September.  Hundreds of you (literally) and many that I’ve never met have been the sweetest sisters a woman could ever have. I love Facebook for giving your encouragement to me. 

The dress was deep in a closet at Hannah’s (my daughter’s) house. It was in a garment bag hiding behind her wedding dress, which was in the back of that closet in another very huge garment bag. The funny thing was, I had everyone looking for a pink box in which I’d originally wrapped that dress for the gender reveal two years ago…the gender reveal that turned out to be for a boy. Thus, the dress was never opened at the reveal. 

What I had forgotten was that the dress had been removed from the box and used as an illustration at a ladies day in Middle Tennessee a few months after that reveal…the very weekend, in fact, that Ezra was due. (Thus the reason it never got out of my car at my house….It just went straight to Hannah’s house and got hung in a closet there because hospital luggage is not conducive to dress preservation.) That’s just where Facebook became very helpful. You found out I was looking and three of you remembered the dress. You identified where you saw it and the garment bag in which it had left the church building at East Main. In turn, I told my son Caleb (via his Facebook page) to stop looking for a box and start looking for a garment bag. Truth be told, I don’t think he’d done a whole lot of looking for either. (He’s a good egg, though.) But Hannah, being the faithful Facebook follower that she is, immediately saw that post about looking for garment bags. She had moved all the hanging clothes in that closet more than once, laid them on the bed and searched the back of that closet for a box. But this time, she rushed home and actually looked through those clothes she’d been moving  back and forth. She looked for a black garment bag. She found the dress and tried to call me…twice. Unable to reach me, she called her Daddy, who got in the car and drove across town with photos on his phone to spread the cheer.

When he walked in the kitchen door in the middle of last Tuesday, I was surprised to see him. 

“What would you give a man…?” he began. 

“You found my dress??!!”

“I think so. But what would you give a man?…Is this the dress?” He offered his phone and a series of photos.

“You found my dress!!!!” 

“Yes and you should call your daughter on that phone that I don’t even know why I pay for.…She wants to hear from you.”


There are always lessons, of course. Here they are:

  1. If Facebook can find a lost dress, surely we can connect some dots and find some lost souls, too. Facebook is a more personal and encompassing kind of outreach than email or USPS. It’s the kind of networking in which you never know if a click that posts or comments may be the click that does click with some lost soul and opens a door to a relationship, a study, an invitation that could result in a saved soul.
  2. Facebook is a neutral commodity. You get to decide whether your use of it is for the Lord or for the devil. Now, finding a dress is not a work of the Lord. But encouraging each other, as Facebook friends did (and do regularly for me) through this medium, is a great way to get the most good out of something the devil loves to control.
  3. You’re never going to find what you’re looking for if you’re looking where it’s not. That dress was not in all those absurd places (like on top of way-up-there kitchen cabinet and in overflowing trunks where I would have never crushed that batiste and damp basement corners) where I was looking. Sometimes life is like that. We can’t find contentment. We look in all those hard-to-do absurd places instead of the obvious place where the “owner” of truth has put it in the first place. 
  4. You may be own, be picking up, carrying, and moving about the answer to all your dilemmas. But until you recognize that, open it up and really look inside, you won’t find what you’re looking for. Hannah did that with that garment bag. She moved it over and over as she looked other places, to no avail. That’s what we do with our Bibles. We lay them on the table beside our beds. We pick them back up and take them to worship. Sometimes we move them back and forth and back and forth without ever really opening and examining them. We move the book, but we don’t meditate on it, memorize it or mark it. There are many people who own a Bible but do not own truth. It’s very important that we show our kids the difference. The Bible is not a lucky amulet. It’s what’s inside that can bring us joy. But that joy exists for me only when what’s inside the book gets inside of me. Hannah had a garment bag that she was transferring mindlessly back and forth, while what was inside eluded us all. 
  5. Some people are so close to what they really want, but just not quite there. Jesus told a scribe as much in Mark 12:34. “You are not far from the kingdom,” Jesus said. I have many friends who are close to the kingdom. I hurt for them because, of  course, being close to the kingdom of God is not enough. Hannah was near that dress we were hunting each time we talked about it on the phone. It was sometimes right there in the same room with her. Close is not good enough. We have to give people the information they need to identify that for which they search. 
  6. Some news is so good, you want to personally deliver it. I love that about my husband. He loves to bring joy…not just to me, but to everyone in all circumstances. We have the very best news of all. When we understand the wretchedness of that from which the good news— the gospel—rescues people, we can’t be stopped. We are going to those people. We will move heaven and earth to reach them with the good news. In fact Heaven has already moved that they might have this good news. It’s up to us to make the move on earth. We simply must. We are going to tell them that we’ve found that for which they are searching.